McBride Ranch House

The Pioneer Legacy of the Texas Panhandle

David Nichols McBride and his wife Abigail moved with their family to a wooded canyon near the Canadian River in 1897. The tract consisting of one section of "watered homestead" and three alternate sections of school land was located in the center of the LX Ranch, then owned by the American Pastoral Company of London. Upon proof of three years' occupancy, McBride was issued a patent for the land in 1901. The homestead section cost three dollars an acre and the grazing section one dollar an acre. The McBrides had 40 years to pay it off at three percent interest.

Architectural elevation of McBride House.
Front elevation drawing of McBride House.

Elevation courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress

The family's first home was a frame house near where the present Bates Boat Ramp is located. In 1903, McBride built a stone ranch house. He quarried Alibates Dolomite from the nearby canyon rim and mortared the stones with lime burned in a kiln constructed at the site. The wood used in the ridge beams, door and window lintels came from old railroad timbers salvaged from a washed out bridge.

Floor plan of McBride House.
Floor plan of McBride House.

Floor plan courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress

The ranch house contained two rooms with a chimney in the middle. The room on the right side of the house was the kitchen. The other room served as a bedroom. A porch was planned for the house but was never completed. The roof was flat and the floor was plaster. The walls were also plaster with white plaster. In addition to the house there was an ice house and corral, built from the railroad timbers, as well as a bunkhouse, storage area and one-car garage.


In addition to the ranch, the McBrides had a home in Amarillo. David McBride, in his later years, turned the ranch over to his son Amos. Amos McBride lived in the house for a while and at one time used it as a still house and brewed moonshine whiskey.

In the early 1960s, the family sold the ranch house property in McBride Canyon, as it had become known, to the Bureau of Reclamation to become part of Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.

McBride House
The McBride House. Since this photo was taken, the National Park Service has put a new roof over the remaining structure in the hopes of preserving this landmark.

NPS Photo

Last updated: December 21, 2015

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P.O. Box 1460
Fritch, TX 79036


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